ITV producers have reportedly put heightened security measures in place for this year’s all-new Love Island villa in South Africa, as gang violence in the area has escalated in the last week. Security boss Tim Lotter was shot dead in Cape Town on Sunday amid tensions in Cape Town.
Winter Love Island 2020 is set to begin this Sunday 12th January. For the first time, contestants will be living in a villa located in Cape Town, South Africa, rather than the usual luxury villa in Majorca. This is to make sure the Islanders will still experience plenty of summer heat – but the new location has brought some worrying security concerns.
An ITV insider has confirmed that producers are taking extra precautions with safety this year, telling the Daily Star: ‘Producers aren’t taking any chances. It’s been arranged for armed guards to patrol the compound throughout the series. They will have them surrounding the area so there is no chance of any breaches… If it’s known to everyone in the area that a big TV show is in town, then it will become a target. There are concerns there could be kidnap attempts if things aren’t done carefully.’
Whilst the British government’s official foreign travel advice states that most visits to South Africa are ‘trouble-free’, it also underlines the fact that the country has a ‘high level of crime’. It advises visitors to the country to take ‘sensible precautions’ and be wary of scam artists and the risk of kidnapping.
Tensions have heightened in South Africa’s capital in the last few days after the head of Extreme Security Measures, Tim Lotter, was killed in a shooting there on Sunday. His murder has been linked to a local gang known as The Sexy Boys, who are said to have been angered by Lotter ‘jumping ship’ to a rival gang.
Despite this worrying development, the new series of Love Island is set to go ahead as planned, with show bosses confirming that there was no connection between the show and the murder, which took place some distance away from ITV’s filming locations, the exact location of which are being kept secret as a security measure.